Whether you want to look sleek in your cocktail dress at a holiday party or look svelte in your swimsuit for your tropical winter getaway, a flat belly is a must! The shape of your midsection is determined by more than just your ab workout. What you eat can have a flattening or bloating effect on your belly.
These five chicken dishes will help keep your belly flat and sexy. Don’t let your hard work at the gym go to waste. If you want a flat and firm midsection, choose nutritious, diet-conscious meals like these chicken dishes.
Chicken: A High-protein Food that Keeps You Lean
Chicken breast has one of the highest protein-to-calorie ratios of any food in your supermarket. For every 6.5 calories of chicken you eat, you get one gram of protein! It’s no wonder chicken is favored by bodybuilders, who are known for their high-protein, low-calorie diets.
If you’re interested in keeping lean, you may want to keep an eye on your protein intake. Higher protein diets are associated with having lower levels of body fat and weight loss. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition instructed a group of women to increase their protein intake to 30% of their daily total calories, but to make no other changes to their diet. The women spontaneously decreased their total calorie intake by 441 calories a day and lost an average of 11 pounds in 12 weeks! Plus, they reported an increased feeling of satiety!
There are two important ways protein helps dieters: protein has a high thermic effect of feeding and a high satiety level. The term “thermic effect of feeding” describes the amount of calories we burn in order to break down and process the food we eat. A gram of protein takes nearly twice as many calories to digest than a gram of carbohydrate or a gram of fat. There are a plethora of studies, like the one mentioned above, that support the notion that increasing your protein consumption will increase your level of satiety.
The five chicken dishes below combine high-protein chicken with other ingredients that are known to help keep your belly flat!
Flat Belly Chicken Dishes
Chicken Apple Stir Fry
Researchers from the University of Rio de Janeiro found that an apple a day can actually keep the pudge away. The researchers published a study in 2003 that found overweight women who consumed three apples or pears a day for three months lost more weight than their counterparts who were fed a similar diet.
Spinach and Feta Stuffed Chicken Breast
Thanks to Popeye, everybody knows spinach is loaded with iron, but spinach has much more to offer! One cup of this leafy green also has 20% of your daily fiber requirement and just 40 calories. Dietary fiber is a flat belly friend! By keeping our digestive tract moving, fiber makes us feel full while fighting bloating.
Spinach goes great with chicken as a side dish, but if you are looking for a more innovative recipe, we recommend this Spinach and Feta Stuffed Chicken Breast from the popular food blog SkinnyTaste. At 169 calories per serving, you can’t go wrong!
Chicken and Garden Veggies Quinoa Skillet
Spinach certainly is an impressive food, but quinoa may have the leafy green beat when it comes to our quest for a flat belly. A serving of quinoa boasts a hefty five grams of fiber and 11 grams of protein. In other words, quinoa and chicken will help leave your belly flat and feeling full!
Paleo Almond Chicken Fingers
In addition to being a good source of fiber, protein, and healthy fat, almonds also provide you with magnesium. Magnesium is a mineral that’s used in a variety of metabolic processes like building up muscle tissue and regulating blood sugar. Increasing your muscle mass and maintaining healthy levels of blood sugar will help you stay lean and healthy.
Chicken with Fennel Seeds
According to Registered Dietitian Cynthia Sass, “fennel helps to relax the GI (gastrointestinal) muscles, which helps trapped gas pass to alleviate bloating.” If bloating has your otherwise flat belly out of shape, try this traditional Tuscan recipe for Chicken with Fennel Seeds from Organic Tuscany, a cooking school in Italy.
The pursuit of a flat belly might take some time in the gym and a careful eye on your diet, but it can also be an excuse to try some delicious new recipes! These five chicken dishes are loaded with belly-smoothing ingredients that will help you look your best!